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Iran Press TV

Turkey summons US ambassador over Biden's Armenian 'genocide' recognition

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 25 April 2021 6:02 AM

Turkey has summoned the US ambassador to Ankara over President Joe Biden's recognition of the alleged massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during the First World War as "genocide."

"We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history," Biden declared on Saturday, becoming the first US president to officially recognize the alleged Armenian genocide.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry denounced Biden's statement in "strongest terms," saying the move "does not have a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence."

"We call on the US president to correct this grave mistake, which serves no purpose other than to satisfy certain political circles and to support the efforts aiming to establish a practice of peaceful coexistence in the region, especially among the Turkish and Armenian nations, instead of serving the agenda of those circles that try to foment enmity from history," it said.

The ministry also on Saturday summoned American ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, who was accepted by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.

A source at the ministry told Russia's Sputnik news agency that Onal told Satterfield that Biden's statement had caused a "wound in ties that will be hard to repair."

The US embassy in Turkey, in response, announced that the diplomatic mission in the country would be closed for routine services on April 26-27 as a precautionary measure against possible dangers from anti-US mass protests in Ankara.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had previously warned that a genocide declaration would harm US-Turkey relations, accused "third parties" of interfering in Turkey's affairs.

"Nobody benefits from the debates -- which should be held by historians -- being politicized by third parties and becoming an instrument of interference in our country," Erdogan said.

In Armenia, the foreign ministry welcomed Biden's recognition of the 1915 events as genocide.

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote to Biden in a letter that the recognition of the genocide was a matter of security to Armenia following last year's war in Nagorno-Karabakh region with Azerbaijan which was supported by Turkey.

"The recognition of the genocide is a matter of truth, historical justice and security to the Republic of Armenia, especially in the light of the events that took place in our region last year," Pashinyan said in the letter.

Armenian communities, lawmakers and human rights activists have long lobbied for recognition of the Meds Yeghern, literally meaning "great crime," as the Armenian genocide.

Turkey often lodges a formal complaint when foreign governments describe the tragic wartime events in Ottoman Turkey as "genocide."

Ankara maintains that many people on both sides of the conflict lost their lives.

In 2005, Turkey proposed to the Armenian side the establishment of a joint history commission in order to reach a just conclusion about the historical facts of that period.

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